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ICAEW KNOW-HOW TAXGUIDE

TAXguide 15/20: Capital gains tax UK property disposal reporting

Technical release

Published: 15 Sep 2020 Updated: 29 Nov 2022 Update History

The requirement for UK residents to report and pay capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential property separately from the self assessment tax return was introduced in April 2020. The deadline is 60 days for all completions on or after 27 October 2021. Disposals occurring before this date had to be reported within 30 days. Non-residents have had an obligation since 2015. ICAEW’s Tax Faculty provides guidance on the digital service for reporting disposals to HMRC.

CGT 60-day reporting requirement

UK residents

The requirement to report and pay capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential property applies to disposals made by UK resident taxpayers on or after 6 April 2020. The requirement applies to UK residents only where tax is due. The CGT on property disposal (CGT PPD) return is made using an HMRC digital service. The return and payment are both due 60 days after the completion date for disposals made on or after 27 October 2021. For disposals made prior to this date the deadline is 30 days after the completion date.

The requirement applies to disposals made on or after 6 April 2020; the usual rules for determining the disposal date for CGT purposes apply (normally the date of exchange rather than the date of completion). Disposals made before 6 April 2020 are not caught by this new requirement, even if completion took place on or after 6 April 2020.

Non-UK residents

Reporting requirements for non-UK residents have been in place for longer than for UK residents. They are wider in scope and include:

  • residential UK property or land (land for these purposes also includes any buildings on the land);
  • non-residential UK property or land;
  • mixed use UK property or land; and
  • rights to assets that derive at least 75% of their value from UK land (indirect disposals).

Non-residents must report disposals even where no tax is due.

The relevant legislation can be found in Sch 2, Finance Act 2019. The professional bodies have all expressed concern about lack of awareness of the requirement.

How to report

HMRC has developed a digital service to support this reporting requirement. The digital service allows agents and taxpayers to make any number of CGT PPD returns and to view the history of previous turns and payments. The functionality to amend previously submitted CGT PPD returns was released on 14 October 2020.

The form that was in use for non-residents to report disposals should only be used for disposals made on or before 5 April 2020.

The return must be made online following the guidance on Report and pay Capital Gains Tax on UK property. Agents can submit returns on behalf of clients and the guidance for agents is available on Managing your client's Capital Gains Tax on UK property account. The service can also be accessed directly from the agent services account. A taxpayer’s CGT PPD account only allows one return to be drafted and submitted at a time, so multiple disposals by the same taxpayer cannot be drafted simultaneously.

The digital service is completely standalone and does not interact with the self assessment system. Accordingly, it does not use self assessment accounts or references. Existing agent authority (such as a 64-8) is not recognised for the service.

The taxpayer needs to set up a CGT UK property account regardless of whether they are reporting the gain themselves or whether they are appointing an agent to report the gain. They need to set up the account using the link shown above. The service is not available from personal tax accounts or business tax accounts.

Only once the CGT UK property account has been set up is it possible for the taxpayer to authorise an agent to report the gain on their behalf.

Further detail is available in the step-by-step guide below.

Step by step guide to reporting by an agent

HMRC’s guidance is available on Managing your client's Capital Gains Tax on UK property account. The agent must have already set up an agent services account (ASA).

Step 1: The client creates a CGT on UK property account

The client should follow the green "Start" button from Report and pay Capital Gains Tax on UK property.

If the client already has government gateway credentials, they should sign in with those existing credentials. It is not necessary to set up new credentials for the service; a set of government gateway credentials that is used for any another government service can be reused.

If the client does not have any government gateway credentials, they will need to set some up. They should follow the same green "Start" button but then click on the link underneath the sign in box where it says "Create sign in details" and then follow the steps on screen to set up a username and password and verify their ID, before proceeding to create their CGT UK property account.

At the end of the process, the system issues a reference number for the CGT UK property account. This is a 15-digit number in the format XYCGTxxxxxxxxxx or similar. It is important that client keeps a note of this reference, as it will be needed for the subsequent steps.

Step 2: Client gives the reference number to the agent

Having created their CGT UK property account, the client gives the 15-digit reference number and their postcode (or country of residence if non-resident) to their agent.

Step 3: Agent requests access

The agent signs in to their ASA and selects "ask a client to authorise you" and the manage the CGT UK property account service.

The agent enters the details provided by the client; this generates a time-limited link (it expires in seven to 14 days) that they can email to the client.

Step 4: The taxpayer authorises the agent

Once the client receives the link, they need to use it to authorise the agent before it expires. The taxpayer needs to sign in using the same government gateway credentials that they used in step 1.

Once the client has authorised the agent, the agent should receive an email to confirm that their appointment has been accepted.

Step 5: The agent files the return

Once the previous steps have been completed the agent should be able to sign in from their ASA to manage the taxpayer’s CGT UK property account. This includes reporting any disposals made in the future.

Returns can be saved for 30 days each time a change is made. This allows the agent to send the return to the client for approval before filing. HMRC does not require a client signature, but it is good practice to retain evidence of the client having approved the return.

Step 6: The taxpayer makes payment

Following successful filing, both the agent and the client receive a confirmation email from HMRC with details of how to pay the tax and the payment reference to use.

Digitally excluded clients

Some clients will be digitally excluded (ie, unable to interact digitally with HMRC due to age, disability, remoteness of location or for any other reason, including religious beliefs). Such clients (or their agent on their behalf) can request a paper return. However, where an agent is involved, it may be better to use the telephone process described below to set up the CGT UK property account and authorise the agent. Authorising an agent will give the agent full ongoing access to the CGT UK property account digital service. Filing a paper return does not provide this access.

HMRC can also offer support to clients who do have online access but who are unable to complete the necessary steps online.

Telephone process

As an alternative to a paper form, HMRC can assist taxpayers by setting up their CGT UK property account and appointing the agent over the phone. Although this might be time consuming it may be worthwhile as it gives the agent full access to the digital service on behalf of their client. This allows the agent access to file returns for subsequent transactions, to make amendments and to check whether payments have been received, (ie all the services that are available using the digital service). This access is not available if a paper return is filed).

The assistance given on the phone depends on whether helpline staff consider the individual to be digitally excluded - so that all the work needs to be done by HMRC - or if they can be assisted by HMRC to set up the government gateway credentials and manage the process. HMRC helpline staff triage calls and refer appropriate cases to HMRC’s Extra Support team and Tax Technicians for support. In practice, agents may prefer to assist their digitally excluded clients through the process, rather than pass them over to HMRC.

HMRC’s process for registering digitally excluded taxpayers is set out in Agent Update 100.

  • The agent asks their client to contact HMRC’s helpline on 0300 200 3300 to register for a CGT UK property account.
  • HMRC’s helpline adviser will confirm that client is digitally excluded and refer them to Tax Technician.
  • HMRC’s Tax Technician will register the client for a CGT UK property account over the phone.
  • The registration process will result in the client receiving a CGT UK property account reference number. The reference number will be generated in real-time and provided to the client.
  • The client gives the CGT UK property account reference number to their agent to begin the agent authorisation process.
  • The agent logs into their ASA and selects "Ask your client to authorise you".
  • The agent enters their client’s CGT UK property account reference number, creating an invitation link. This would usually be emailed to the client to follow. The Tax Faculty but we understands that the link doesn’t actually need to be sent out for a digitally excluded client with no email address, just created so it is on HMRC’s system.
  • The client contacts HMRC’s helpline again (0300 200 3300) provide the CGT UK property account reference number and request support to authorise their agent to access their CGT UK property account.
  • HMRC’s helpline adviser makes a referral to HMRC’s Extra Support service. The client should receive a call within the next 48 hours.
  • HMRC’s Extra Support service adviser calls the client and confirms that the client is content for the agent to act on their behalf.
  • HMRC Extra Support Service adviser creates the agent-client relationship.
  • The agent is able to engage digitally with HMRC on behalf of client for CGT property disposals.

Paper returns

Digitally excluded taxpayers are permitted to file using a paper return. There are limited other circumstances in which a paper return can be filed. The full list of circumstances is set out in HMRC’s Capital Gains Tax Manual.

Taxpayers can contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300 to ask for a paper return (form reference PPDCGT – make sure that you are specific to avoid being incorrectly issued with SA108 pages). Agents can request a paper return on behalf of clients via the agent dedicated line.

The paper return is not available online to be downloaded. It is pre-populated by HMRC with some of the taxpayer’s details before being issued and should not be reused for another client (the faculty understands that some agents have received forms that do not appear to be pre-populated). In November 2022, HMRC updated the paper return to make the form clearer and easier to use.

Given the very short time in which returns must be filed, it is advisable to request the paper returns as early as possible in the process, ideally in advance of the sale. There are very significant delays to the processing of paper returns; where this applies the due date for the payment of the tax due is 30 days from the date on which HMRC issues the charge. Payments should not be made until the return has been processed and a payment reference has been issued.

Issues with the process

Amending returns

The functionality to amend returns was released by HMRC on 14 October 2020 making it possible to correct returns that have been filed.

Non-residents

Where a non-resident does not have a national insurance number or unique taxpayer reference (UTR) there is an alternative process to enable the creation of access credentials. The alternative sign-in process requires only an email address (validated by a code sent by email shortly after entering the email address) and the address of the UK property. This alternative process is accessed at the "Create sign in details" in Step 1 above.

HMRC updated the system in September 2020 to fix an issue that was preventing non-residents from being able to access the system.

HMRC has confirmed that for non-residents using a rebased value as at April 2015, the digital service does not calculate the gain or loss on disposal. If the ‘“Initial gain or loss’” box is completed with a nil value, this may lead to an incorrect amount of tax being calculated.

The Tax Faculty understands that the system will not accept zeros for tax payable. This will often be the case for non-residents.

More than one acquisition date

Members have reported that the system is unable to accept more than one acquisition date and also does not allow for part of the gain to be calculated on uplift from 5 April and part from market value post 5 April 2015.

Mixed use properties

Only the gain or loss relating to the residential element of a mixed use property should be reported on a CGT PPD return within 60 days of the disposal, and only the tax due on this element is payable by the same deadline. The taxpayer or client will therefore need to identify the residential and non-residential elements of the disposal prior to submitting a CGT PPD return; it is not possible to split out the residential element using the digital service.

Trusts

UK trusts fall within the reporting rules. Trustees may need to report residential property disposals within 60 days of completion if there is CGT to pay.

HMRC has confirmed that a trust will need to register on the Trust Registration Service (TRS) in advance of reporting the property disposal so it can provide either a UTR or a Trust Registration Number as part of the CGT reporting process. The main issue is one of timing, as trustees would usually have more than 60 days to register a trust on the TRS under current rules.

Estates

Estates disposing of property also fall within these rules, with personal representatives (PRs) required to report property disposals within 60 days of completion where a gain arises.

When it launched in April 2020, the property reporting service was not available to PRs. This functionality is now available and guidance on how unrepresented PRs can file a return is available, under the heading "If you’re a capacitor or personal representative".

This guidance covers the position where a PR is making the report themselves. They are advised to do this using their own CGT UK property account but select the option to report on behalf of another person. This process is not intended for use by agents. Note that this service allows a PR to file a return and it does not provide online access to view the return or make payment online. The Tax Faculty understands that the return is in fact processed manually by HMRC, who then writes to the PR with instructions on how to pay and grants an extended payment deadline.

It is not currently possible for PRs to appoint an agent for this service. Where an agent is acting for an estate, they should request a paper return.

A further concern for estates is the interaction between the reporting requirements under the 60-day reporting rules, and the informal procedures for an estate. Under the informal procedures, a non-complex estate does not need to register for a UTR (which would be obtained via the TRS). Instead the PRs or their agent submit an account by letter after administration is complete.

Informal procedures are available provided that the total tax due under self assessment (ie, CGT and income tax) for the entire administration period is under £10,000, the estate is under £2.5m and the value of assets sold in any tax year are under £500,000. The idea is that this informal approach is simpler and more cost effective than completing tax returns for the period of administration.

It is possible for an estate to make a property disposal such that it remains within the informal procedures (so no need for self assessment or a UTR) but still be within the rules for reporting and paying CGT within 60 days on a UK residential property disposal. HMRC has confirmed that such an estate can still benefit from the informal procedures and will not be forced into self assessment as a result of the CGT reporting requirements.

In these cases, a PR reporting on behalf of the estate would create a CGT UK property account in their own name using their own credentials. Once logged into their account, they will be able to file a CGT return on behalf of the estate, by providing personal details for the deceased which could (but does not have to) include the deceased’s UTR. When the estate pays the balance of CGT and income tax for the administration period through the informal procedures, the PRs will need to quote any reference numbers relating to the earlier CGT payment to enable HMRC to link the payments. This may include the PR’s CGT UK property account. Care will be needed if the PR has also reported gains made in their own name. As noted above PRs cannot appoint an agent for this service and this process is likely to cause difficulty for professional PRs.

In the August 2020 Trust and Estates newsletter HMRC noted that if the estate opts to finalise its wider tax affairs (ie, files a self assessment return or makes a report under the informal procedures which includes the CGT on the property disposal) within 30 days (now 60) of completion of the property sale, there is no need to report via the CGT UK property account at all. This may be of benefit in those cases where the property sale occurs just before the estate administration is completed.

Self assessment tax returns

Gains reported through the new service must also be reported on the taxpayer’s self assessment tax return. However, a taxpayer that is not otherwise required to file a return will not have to do so if all gains have been reported through the new service.

If a disposal has been reported on a self assessment tax return, a CGT PPD return must still be filed. However, it is not possible to submit a CGT PPD return using the digital service after a self assessment tax return has been filed. A paper return must therefore be requested and filed.

There is one exception to this requirement; where a self assessment tax return is filed within 60 days of completion of the property transaction (ie, before the deadline for the CGT PPD return), it is not necessary to file a CGT PPD return. Practically this only affects property disposals that occur at the very end of the tax year.

Where the CGT liability reported on the self assessment tax return is lower than the CGT reported and paid on the CGT PPD return, from 2021/22 overpaid CGT should automatically offset income tax due. However, this does not cover the situation where the self assessment tax return shows an overall refund. In this situation, it is necessary to phone HMRC to request a refund of the CGT paid.

Other links

Tax Faculty

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  • Update History
    29 Nov 2022 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    This TAXguide was updated on 29 November 2022 to reflect changes in the agent authorisation process for digitally excluded taxpayers, new information on paper forms and to provide additional clarification on reporting where a self assessment tax return is also required. Links to additional guidance have been added.
    05 Nov 2021 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    This TAXguide was updated on xx November 2021 to reflect the change to the rules announced at Autumn Budget 2021. The deadline for reporting gains and paying tax is extended to 60 days from completion (previously 30 days) for all completions on or after 27 October 2021.